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APHIS MAKES KEY MANAGEMENT CHANGES

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Karen Eggert (202) 690-4178
Angela Harless (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2008--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced two changes to its senior management staff. Rebecca Bech, formerly deputy administrator of biotechnology and regulatory services (BRS), has been named deputy administrator for plant protection and quarantine (PPQ) and Michael Gregoire, formerly deputy administrator of policy and program development, as deputy administrator for biotechnology and regulatory services (BRS).

“Rebecca and Mike were doing outstanding jobs serving in their former positions,” said APHIS administrator Cindy Smith, “but recent vacancies have allowed us to focus on continuing to build a team of agency leaders with strong, broad-based management experience. Both of these leaders have amassed an impressive string of accomplishments in their various positions in APHIS.”

Bech began her career with APHIS in 1986 as a PPQ officer, and throughout her time at APHIS has gained diverse experience by supporting several different programs, including PPQ, policy and program development, recruitment and development, and marketing and regulatory programs business services, where she acted as the USDA liaison for invasive species. Prior to becoming deputy administrator for BRS in June 2007, Bech served as BRS' associate deputy administrator for emerging and international programs. In her new role as PPQ deputy administrator, she will provide executive leadership and direction to a nationally dispersed staff responsible for safeguarding U.S. plant resources from destructive pests and diseases.

Gregoire began his Federal career as a budget analyst with APHIS in 1978 and served in various positions and programs over the continuing years, including among others, the agency's budget officer, the chief of staff to the administrator, and the agency chief information officer. He was appointed deputy administrator for policy and program development in March 2005, and provided leadership and guidance for the agency in the areas of planning, policy development, budgeting, regulatory decision-making and compliance with environmental statutes and regulations. In his new role as BRS deputy administrator, he will provide leadership and direction to ensure the safe development and introduction (importation, interstate movement, and field testing) of genetically engineered organisms.

“Rebecca's strong coalition building skills combined with her seasoned management experience and former background in PPQ make her an excellent choice for the new PPQ deputy. And, Mike's business acumen, knowledge of regulatory and environmental function management, coupled with his numerous years in various APHIS leadership roles, have well prepared him for this new position. I am pleased my colleagues are up to this challenge, and I am confident that they will serve the agency well in their new roles.”

APHIS' mission is to protect the health and value of American agriculture and natural resources. As part of this mission, BRS is responsible for regulating the importation, interstate movement and field testing of genetically engineered organisms. APHIS programs protect U.S. agriculture from foreign animal and plant pests and disease, control and eradicate certain domestic pests and disease, administrate laws pertaining to the humane care of animals and carry out wildlife management activities.

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